Can anyone give me an unbiased opinion of John Green books?
Maybe opinion isn’t the best word to go with unbiased. Style overview, maybe?
Teens don’t sound like that; we get that road trips are a metaphor for adolescence; manic pixie dream girls (or boy); they’re all the same; teenagers aren’t as smart as he makes them seem; people only like his books because the Internet.
John Green, everyone.
Yes, to be clear, since people are getting upset, I WROTE THIS. I was making fun of myself. But now I feel the need to defend myself against the terrible accustations that I earlier made, so fine:
1. Lots of good novels involve the use of heightened language and/or don’t attempt to perfectly replicate human speech.
2. Road trips are a good metaphor for adolescence, and I have used the metaphor twice: In Katherines, where the road trip lasts about ten pages, and in Paper Towns, where the road trip lasts about 30 pages. Road trips comprise about 3% of my published work. I’ve devoted almost as much space to Moby Dick, and probably more to jokes about testicles. (TFiOS is sometimes accused of featuring a road trip, but it doesn’t. It does contain travel, but then again, so do most human lives in the contemporary industrialized world.)
3. Augustus Waters is not a Manic Pixie Dream Boy, and Hazel’s initial misimagining of him (and Gus’s initial wish to be misimagined) falls away pretty quickly. Both Alaska Young (in LfA) and Margo Rothe Spiegelman (in Paper Towns) are imagined by the boys who adore them as manic pixie dream girls, but in both cases, this inability to see a young woman as fully human has disastrous consequences, and in Paper Towns the dirty pernicious lie of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is repeatedly and violently destroyed. In fact, that’s essentially the plot of Paper Towns.
4. Stop telling teenagers how smart they aren’t.
5. The Internet has definitely been good for (and kind to) my books, but for the record, nerdfighters report enjoying TFiOS about as much as, for lack of a better term, “regular people.” If my books were read primarily by people who liked them because the Internet, you’d expect the ratings at goodreads* to be high initially but then as word spread out to “regular people” and they started reading the book, the ratings would go down significantly. (This happened to Paper Towns, for instance, and it happens to most books by authors with built-in fan bases.) But with TFiOS, the ratings have been very stable: The first 50,000 ratings averaged 4.55; the most recent 50,000 ratings have averaged 4.54.
(For the record, there are lots of good and fair criticisms of my books, and I certainly don’t think they are amazing or anything. I just don’t think these particular criticisms hold up to scrutiny.)
* Because so many people use goodreads, it is an amazingly good—and amazingly underutilized—resource for understanding what people read, why, and how they feel about their reading experiences.
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